Hiring a car from Nelspruit airport

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Hiring a car from Nelspruit airport

Collect your hire car in Nelspruit and get ready to soak up animal magic on safari and 2010 World Cup action on the football pitch

60-second guide to Nelspruit airport

in its own head

"A stone's throw from the world-famous Kruger National Park, we have blossomed from humble farming community to bustling industrial hub, and are looking forward to a bright future."

but more realistically

Despite its increasingly cosmopolitan city centre atmosphere, Nelspruit is still primarily a stopover for tourists travelling to the national park and Mozambique. However, these wildlife-watchers are missing a trick.

the vibe

With its subtropical climate and relaxed pace of life, Nelspruit is the chilled out cousin to some of South Africa's livelier cities. But there are still plenty of watering holes catering to two-legged customers.

the natives

Used to safari-seeking tourists and day-trippers from Mozambique, the people of Nelspruit are a welcoming bunch who'll more than meet the needs of 2010 World Cup fans.

the weather

With mangoes, avocadoes and bananas growing in abundance around the city it's not likely you'll need a scarf, so you'll have to find another way to display your football allegiances.

the local speciality

Trout, prawns and mountains of fresh game all regularly feature on the menu. For a real spicy treat, try dousing your dish in peri peri - a spicy relish from Mozambique.

the celebrity

World Cup footballers won't be the first sports stars to walk Nelspruit's streets. The city is the birthplace of former tennis pro Cliff Drysdale and rugby union coach Heyneke Meyer. Cliff

did you know?

Commonly known as Nelspruit, the city was actually renamed Mbombela in October 2009. The word means lots of people in a small place, which perfectly describes this multicultural hub.

they say

"I love the botanical garden at Lowveld, with its picturesque mountain views and tropical plants. I have always wanted to live in this part of the country, now here I am." - South African TV and radio presenter, Neil Gundry

5 to see in town...

1.Lowveld National Botanical Garden

The Lowveld National Botanical Garden straddles both the Crocodile and Nels rivers, creating a more dramatic and rugged spectacle than you're likely to find in your average green city space.

where to park?

Situated just off White River Road, try the on-site car park next to the visitor centre.

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2. Mbombela Stadium

Built for the 2010 World Cup Mbombela Stadium has the capacity to seat 46,000 spectators. It has been nicknamed the 'giraffe stadium' because of the 18 roof supports designed to look like the long-necked locals of Kruger National Park.

where to park?

There is a large on-site car park, but to avoid congestion during the 2010 World Cup, visitors are advised to use the park-and-ride service, departing Nelspruit Rugby Club and Bergvlam High School.

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3. Emnotweni Casino

Zulu slang for 'where the money is at', Emnotweni's promise might come true if you play your cards right at this glittering casino resort.

where to park?

Try the car park connected to nearby Riverside Mall.

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4. Agricultural Showgrounds (fan zone)

If you're not lucky enough to grab a seat in Mbombela Stadium, join the hoards of World Cup supporters as they soak up the atmosphere in this vast facility packed with bars and screens.

where to park?

Opposite the R40/Bosch Street interchange, footie fans are advised to catch a shuttle bus from the central business district.

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5. Ekukhanyeni Outdoor Centre

A haven for both thrill-seekers and those in search of inner peace, the Christian retreat offers abseiling, adventure trails or just a calm space in which to sit and think.

where to park?

Situated in Nelspruit's Brandal District there is an on-site car park, as well as on-street spaces in nearby Henshall Street.

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and 4 to drive to...

1. Sudwala Caves

Formed over 3,000 million years ago, these awe-inspiring caverns are thought to be home to fossils of the first oxygen-producing plants on the planet.

how to get there?

Just 25 miles from the city centre, take the N4 west passing through Alkmaar and turn right at the R539 (signs for Sabie).

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2. Kruger National Park

One of the most famous national parks in the world, Kruger is the perfect place to track Africa's magnificent wildlife and see sights that'll make the World Cup fans seem tame.

how to get there?

Driving north take the R538 and R40, following signs for Phalaborwa, and continue onto the R530. On reaching Phalaborwa, take the R71 and merge with the H9 towards the park entrance.

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3. Songimvelo Game Reserve

In contrast to the tourist enclave of Kruger National Park, Songimvelo Game Reserve is one of South Africa's best-kept secrets, home to over 1,400 plant species.

how to get there?

Madiba Drive/R40 south leads towards Barberton and the reserve. The journey should take around one-hour 40-minutes.

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4. Malolotja National Park, Swaziland

Stretching from Ngwenya mountain to the Nkomati river valley, Malolotja is one of the last unspoilt mountain wildernesses left in Swaziland, and is a haven for nature lovers.

how to get there?

Head south along Madiba Drive/R40 following signs to Barberton and turn left towards Piggs Peak. The park is to the south of the Songimvelo Game Reserve.

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